Happy New Year, Everyone! No, I haven’t been on vacation for three weeks; for me, January has actually been one of the busiest months ever.
During my time “off” from blogging, I’ve been consciously working toward adopting a “greener” way of life – one that benefits body, mind and planet.
Last week, I even appeared on WFLA’s syndicated TV show Daytime to discuss how you can create an environmentally responsible kitchen. [lightbox href=”http://youtu.be/pXq-grGzuhY”]Check out the segment[/lightbox], and let me know what you think!
That aside, here are the ten things I’ve started doing in my kitchen to achieve a more sustainable place in the world:
1. Keep Plastic Out of The Kitchen
Minimize the amount of plastic you use. Wrap sandwiches in butcher paper instead of plastic bags; store leftovers in glass bowls instead of plastic containers, and scale back on the paper towels you use. If you must use plastic, buy products made from 100% recycled materials. There are brands out there made from renewable products which offer mixing bowls, colanders, food storage containers, measuring cups, and cutting boards.
2. Reuse & Recycle
Glass containers rule. I tend to like spice jars, pickling jars and canisters. Believe it or not, you can find terrific, inexpensive glass storage containers at your local hardware store.
Reusable shopping bags have also become my best friend. And you don’t have to look bohemian, anymore, toting cotton sacks. Today, you can find stylish bags that are both durable and washable. By making it fun and practical to have a reusable bag solution, I believe everyone will be empowered to make a difference, and enjoy doing it.
3. Eat Locally
The way food is grown, transported, and processed in our global food system results in lower quality products, which have more of a negative impact on the environment all the way from the farm to your plate. When you eat locally-grown food, you’re supporting the local agricultural community, reducing your carbon footprint and enjoying the riches of taste and nutrition natural products deliver.
4. Invest in Quality Cookware
Cast iron pans and stock pots might sound old-fashioned, but they’re the way to go. They are environmentally friendly and healthy, since minute amounts of iron leach into the food your prepare in them. These pots and pans will last forever, never seeing a trash can or landfill.
5. Unplug Appliances/Turn Off Lights
It’s one of the simplest things you can do.
I’m trying to replace all of my consumables with earth-friendlier products. For example, I use trash bags that are corn-based and compostable. I use recycled aluminum foil, paper towels made from 100% recycled paper, waxed paper and plastic wrap that is made without PVCs. I also bought and keep a canister for compostable kitchen waste (e.g., fruit and vegetable peels, tea bags, coffee filters, cellulose bags, egg shells).
7. Use Energy-Efficient Bulbs
If you have lots of lights in your home, like I do, replace your bulbs as they burn out. Otherwise, the cash outlay you’ll have to make won’t be pretty…
8. Use a Pressure Cooker
The pressure cooker is the greenest way to cook short of using a solar oven. It heats water faster, thereby reducing energy to prepare just about anything you’d like.
9. Eat Your Greens
Buy more plant-based foods such as beans for your protein source. Veggies require less energy to grow and don’t produce any greenhouse gasses like livestock do.
10. Opt for Natural Cleaners
All of my cleaning products are gentle and non-toxic without harsh petroleum-based detergents, surfactants or other unhealthy additives. I’ve also switched to dye-free, biodegradable sponges.
Now, let me hear from you! I’d love to know what you’re doing to be “green.”